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History and Policy

In 2010 the Commission adopted the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The strategy's objectives are being implemented through a number of Flagship Initiatives addressing the main challenges. The Flagship Initiatives 'Innovation Union' and 'Resource-Efficient Europe ' ensure that innovative ideas will create growth and jobs while contributing to a transition towards a green economy.

The Eco-innovation Action Plan (EAP) – which was adopted by the Commission in 2011 in the context of the Innovation Union Flagships Initiative – is a tool to identify and implement measures for the deployment of key environmental technologies and eco-innovative business practices, to enhance coordination and cooperation between the EU and Member States and to generate awareness of the potential of innovative solutions.

From 2015 EBAE adapts to the evolving policy context. The 7th EAP calls for a more coherent policy framework for sustainable consumption and production to enable a circular economy. In line with the priorities of the new Commission, increased efforts are necessary to support the innovation and competitiveness of EU businesses. In this context, voluntary instruments gain in importance to help compliance with environmental legislation. The provision of accountable and transparent information on the characteristics and sustainability features of products and services therefore becomes an important marketing tool.

The European Business Awards for the Environment reflect this new direction by taking into consideration voluntary schemes such as EMAS and Ecolabel, together with other comparable instruments, as elements which demonstrate the commitment of the candidate to develop and apply sustainable management practices. This is reflected in both the Management and the Product & Services categories.

1987: Launch of the European Better Environment Awards for Industry (EBEAFI) on the occasion of the European Year of the Environment.

2000: Renaming of the European Better Environment Award for Industry into the European Awards for the Environment.

2004: Renaming of the award into the European Business Awards for the Environment. Ceremony: Brussels (Belgium) as part of Green Week 2004. The word “business” is added to give well-deserved recognition to companies that have introduced and promoted sustainable development in their activities and practices.

2014: Seventh edition of the European Business Awards for the Environment. Ceremony: Lyon (France) as part of the 17th Forum on Eco-innovation to highlight the connection between business excellence and eco-innovation.

2015: The European Business Awards for the Environment adapt to economic challenges and recognise the use of voluntary instruments such as EMAS and Ecolabel to strengthen business competitiveness and protect the environment.